Practice Meaningful & Effective Community Engagement

The question of how to meaningfully and authentically engage Northsiders in planning and development efforts is difficult - but essential to our community and our city’s future. It means fusing the hopes, dreams, wisdom and creative problem-solving of our diverse neighbors with the work of planners, community developers, artists, public officials, the private sector and more. This will take new ways of engaging with the community while simultaneously building on the power of the Northside to create homegrown, locally owned, equitable, action-oriented solutions. 

Here’s what we know: there is a distinct difference between asking for Northsiders’ opinions and actually sharing planning and decision-making responsibilities. Between real partnerships and simply asking people to rubber-stamp decisions we’ve already made. Between going through the empty ritual of participation and having the real power to affect the outcome of a process.

Through my office and leadership we will practice community engagement that is more than just opinion gathering, but is about collective problem solving and decision-making. This has been core to my campaign from the very start.

Here are some principles that will guide our work:

  • Acknowledge our interdependence.
  • Be honest with complexity.
  • Be comfortable with uncertainty and conflict.

This has to happen in a way that reflects the diversity of our neighborhoods. That is especially focused on engaging folks of color and the Indigenous community, youth, immigrants, seniors, renters, people with disabilities and others who are traditionally marginalized in planning and decision making efforts.

I’ve been putting these words into practice throughout my campaign. Making myself available for coffee every Saturday. Spending weekends walking the streets with music and having conversations with my neighbors. Having the hard conversations with community members to come to solutions that build our collective power, even though disagreements.

The Northside is a community with a wealth of expertise, wisdom and skills. I am committed to implementing community engagement practices that prioritize the full participation of our community in our collective effort to advance our preferred future for North Minneapolis.